Digicel Growing Strong

Digicel announced on Tuesday that it had achieved significant growth in 2007, ending the year with more than six million customers, a total investment exceeding US$1.9 billion across the region and new business operations in Guyana, Suriname and El Salvador.

“Digicel’s progress in 2007 reinforced our position as the Caribbean’s leading mobile service provider and demonstrated delivery of sustained growth in our current markets, strategically expanding operations in new markets and providing exciting, first-to-market technology innovations to all of our customers,” said Colm Delves, Digicel Group CEO in a Digicel press release datelined Kingston, Jamaica.

According to the release, Digicel achieved a number of key milestones in 2007, including celebrating its first year of operations in Haiti, gaining more than 1.8 million Haitian subscribers and playing a pivotal role in the increase of mobile penetration rates within that market. When Digicel Haiti was launched in May 2006, fixed and mobile penetrations rates were five percent but last year mobile penetration increased to 35 percent.

Moreover, the release stated, Digicel won mobile licences in new markets. In December 2007, Digicel was granted a mobile licence to operate a GSM network in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the company’s 24th market. Digicel has earmarked US$15 million as its initial investment to build a state-of-the-art network there.

And Digicel Central America Holdings Limited, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Digicel Honduras S.A. de C.V., won a competitive bid for a licence to operate a GSM mobile network in Honduras.

Significant investment in Honduras, the release stated, is planned to build a world-class network and operation expected to stimulate growth in the mobile market by increasing mobile penetration within the next five years from approximately 38% to 75%. Honduras has a population of nearly 7.5 million.

The company also introduced a new line of mobile handsets accessible to consumers across almost all of Digicel’s markets. The Coral phones reinforced Digicel’s continued efforts to increase mobile penetration in key markets. Digicel also expanded its products portfolio with new BlackBerry Curve devices and a new “Digicel Vehicle Tracking” system, a GPS vehicle tracking device for fleet management companies, the release said.

Meanwhile, Digicel expanded its customer offerings by rolling out many first-to-market technology innovations such as its Personal Broadband Service through WiMAX technology. Pioneering this technology in the Cayman Islands, Digicel’s Personal Broadband Service enables consumers to access the Internet from anywhere within their coverage area. Digicel also launched MobileTV in Jamaica, which allows customers to enjoy all live, local mobile TV programming.

In 2007 also, significant inroads were achieved as the company continued offering services that allow the Caribbean Diaspora communities abroad to send airtime credit and purchase phones for family and friends in the Caribbean. Digicel’s CaribFlex allows the purchase of airtime credit in the UK, Canada and the US for prepaid customers in Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, Guyana and OECS markets. Credit is instantly applied to the prepaid customers’ account and the beneficiary notified via text message.

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